We hit the slopes at Chelski with FitWater ambassador Gemma Atkinson to talk all things hydration, fitness, brunch and, of course, Strictly Come Dancing
We’ve done enough workouts and long-distance runs in our time to know the importance of good hydration and electrolytes – it makes all the difference and helps an average workout to become a great one!
That’s why our fridge is stocked up with Lucozade Sport FitWater, a purified spring water with added electrolytes, it contains zero calories and zero sugar. Crucially, it is the only sports water to contain significant amounts of sodium, chloride, calcium and magnesium.
Broadcaster, actress and former Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Gemma Atkinson, is the new ambassador for FitWater’s ‘More than Water’ campaign and told us: “FitWater is my go to drink during and after exercise, it helps to replenish the electrolytes my body has lost during a hard work out session. I’m really excited to be working with the brand and help people understand how to stay properly hydrated when exercising – something we can all easily forget to do!”
Why is hydration so key?
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water* and we can sweat out up to 0.5-1.5L per hour during active workouts, so it’s essentials that we replace all that moisture and minerals during and after each workout.
In every bottle of FitWater, sodium and chloride help to replenish the main electrolytes lost in sweat, calcium contributes to the facilitation of muscle contraction, while magnesium contributes to electrolyte balance and helps keep you from feeling tired and fatigued.
On the sofa with Gemma Atkinson
I can remember watching Gemma on Hollyoaks back in the early-Noughties and being envious then of her gorgeous athletic physique and blonde flowing locks, but fast forward to 2019 and she hasn’t actually changed an awful lot, she’s just as warm, friendly and chatty as she comes across on TV and radio.
Since her success on Strictly, Gemma has become a bonafide fitness inspiration, appearing on the cover of Women’s Health and showing off some serious muscle tone. So how does she juggle her her health and fitness goals with early morning radio shows?
We sat down with Gemma for a little après ski to find out everything from her favourite brunch spot to her self care and gym routine…
What’s your favourite brunch destination?
“Alberts Schloss in Manchester, I try and go every Sunday. I have to be at work at half five during the week, so I usually have breakfast at my desk, which I hate, so every weekend I make sure I have brunch. Alberts Schloss does vegan and vegetarian brunch, it’s owned by Simon Rimmer and I can walk there from work. They do a really nice smashed avocado with poached egg, feta cheese, spinach and mushrooms. Then I have a cronut – a cross between a croissant and doughnut – and a flat white. Sunday brunch is what it’s all about!”
Tell us about your book, The Ultimate Body Plan – how did it come about?
I’d been asked to do books and DVDs before, but it was always stuff that I didn’t actually do myself, and I think if you’re going to market something then you’ve got to truly believe in it. So when Harper Collins asked me what I wanted to do, it had to be my own training plan – I did it two years ago and managed to keep the weight off. I still feel great and it’s not all plain chicken and broccoli!
A lot of people have the perception that training is easy for me because I’ve got so much time, but everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. I work anything from 11-17 hours a day, so I wanted to show in the autobiography that if I can do it, anyone can do it.
So there’s 75 meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. It’s a 12-week plan but its about mentally feeling well, more so than physically. You will physically change, but I think the mental benefits far out weigh how you look.
What does ‘self care’ mean for you?
I turn my phone off an hour before I go to bed, I dim the lights and read a nice book, and I have a bath once a week in Epsom Salts. A lot of people neglect themselves, especially mums… as women we nurture everyone else and in the process we can get exhausted. So I think it’s important to take time for yourself, even if it’s 5 or 6 minutes a day, on your own to recharge.
What’s your favourite way to keep fit?
I love strength training, anything to make me feel strong and enable me to get all my shopping out of the car in one go! People say you can live till you’re 90 without training, and you can, but it’s not just the longevity of life, it’s about the quality of life. If you can get to 90 and still walk the dogs, get up the stairs, drive and play with your grandkids, that’s what I want to get to.
My grandma was still driving and climbing up step ladders at 84, yet there’s other families who’s grandparents in their 70s are in wheelchairs with a breathing mask on, and they’re still alive but are they really living?
Sometimes health is out of our control, any of us could get poorly tomorrow but that’s why you have to look after yourself while you can.
So what does an average week look like for you in terms of training?
I do three weights sessions per week, two cardio days and two rest days. I have a stair master (although sometimes it’s used more as a clothing rail!) so on cardio days, I try to do 40 mins on that and then walk my dogs. On my rest days I do absolutely nothing but recover.
Congratulations on your huge success on Strictly, are you still dancing now?
I haven’t danced since the final last year! I loved the training with Aljaž and I loved the experience, but the dancing each Saturday was the thing I didn’t like. I’d never done theatre or performing before and I used to get so worked up I just didn’t enjoy it until we’d finished the dance.
I read an interview with Louise Redknapp and they asked if she’d put herself through it again and she said “No”. And I thought, it can’t be that bad, but when I did it the year after, I saw her and said “Now I know what you mean, it’s horrendous!”
The training regime sounds quite brutal, how was it for you?
We were full on, I’d do my radio show 6-10am and then we would dance 10.30-6.30pm so we did 8 hours of training per day. I was the only contestant to put weight on during Strictly because I just ate and ate and ate. We trained above a mall with a huge chocolate shop so Aljaž and I went to town! The training was tough, but it wasn’t cardio-tough compared with what I’m used to, the hardest thing was wearing heels every day!
For more about FitWater, go to lucozadesport.com/fitwater
* British Nutrition Foundation